Brown bread is one of those things. When I'm down in Listowel visiting family, I love slathering butter on slices of our auntie's chewy loaves.

In bakeries, I enjoy getting a loaf fresh out of the oven, with a bit of chew to it, but also a really tender crumb.

I have seen brown bread made a hundred different ways in this country. I make mine slightly differently, too, I suppose.

I love incorporating butter into the bread mix - I know not everyone does this, but I like the effect it has on the finished product. A bit of sweetness - from some honey or maple syrup - is a must for me, as well.

And instead of a stiff bread dough, I aim for a more batter-like dough - it's very wet and gets poured into a loaf pan instead of being kneaded and shaped.

Adding some good Irish oats to the mix is a must for me, too. Though sometimes I enjoy adding different seeds for a bit of texture, the oats just add a lovely flavour and moreishness to the finished product.

Brown porridge bread

Brown bread. / Janine Kennedy

Makes one large loaf


300g plain flour

200g wholemeal flour

100g porridge oats

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

125g cold, cubed butter

1 egg

1 tbsp honey or maple syrup

375ml buttermilk

More oats, for sprinkling


1 Preheat your oven to 200°C and spray a large loaf tin with cooking spray (or line the tin with parchment paper). Set aside.

2 In a bowl, combine the plain flour, wholemeal flour, oats, salt and baking soda. Mix well.

3 Add in the cold, cubed butter and rub the butter into the flour mixture with your fingers. You want the mixture to resemble coarse crumbs once fully incorporated.

4 In a measuring jug, measure out the buttermilk, then add the honey and egg. Mix until the egg is broken up and well combined, then pour the wet ingredients into the dry.

5 Mix well. If the mixture is too wet or dry, either add a bit more flour or a bit more buttermilk. You want a very thick batter-like dough.

6 Pour the dough into the prepared loaf tin and smooth out the top. Sprinkle with oats and place in the preheated oven.

7 Bake for 45 minutes, then remove the loaf from the tin and bake the loaf directly on the oven rack for an additional 10 minutes.

8 Remove from the oven and cool completely before attempting to slice - this loaf is deliciously tender, but it will completely fall apart if you try to slice it while warm.

9 Enjoy with a full Irish or with lashing of butter and good Irish cheese (don't forget the tea).

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